Sometime late in ’89 Laibach asked me to join them in Paris, where they were working on new material with French songsmith Bertrand Burgalat. This was too intriguing to pass up and I hopped over La Manche without further ado.
What I heard there was a most interesting hybrid of the Laibach vibe and French chanson. That may sound like a complete contradiction, but I happened to know about this propensity of theirs from a francophile mix tape they had given me a few years earlier while preparing the Opus Dei album. For their new work, to be titled Kapital, they wanted this French influence to help underline the album’s theme of the seductive language of capitalism.
Unfortunately the proximity and intensity of their work in Paris caused some tensions to arise between Bertrand and the lads from Ljubljana, and by the time we convened at Mute headquarters to mix the album they were having severe problems working together. Although I thought the mixes were sounding good, these tensions worsened to the point that the work was abandoned. I was gutted, although after my earlier experience with their rejection of the fabulous The Normal remix of Life is Life it wasn’t the biggest surprise.
I thought all of the work lost forever. The CD of Kapital I eventually heard didn’t include any of it; I recently discovered that this one song was included on the vinyl version, which makes that edition something of an industrial Smiley Smile in my book.
After that I stopped paying any attention to Laibach until earlier this year when I began this blog, and I found a heartening and inspiring performance they did just a few months ago in Sweden. Just like me, maybe their “silver fox” years will be their best!